The exhibition Seeds of Hope opened on October 18th in Tauranga with over 80 guests attending 2 ceremonies – thanks to the SGI members in Tauranga and support of SGI members in other cities, as well as many members of the Tauranga community.
The opening ceremony at the Creative Tauranga art gallery was followed by the ribbon cutting at the Goddards Centre where the panels are on display. Tracey Rudduck from Creative Tauranga was the MC, and guest speakers included Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby, United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNANZ) President Graham Hassall, 17 year-old New Zealand Youth delegate to Rio+20 Erin Murphy, and SGINZ General Director Jimi Wallace.
Stuart Crosby, Mayor of Tauranga commented “I want to acknowledge SGI locally and all the other organisations represented here today which have similar philosophies…I am delighted to see these philosophies being embraced by our youth. To me, that is what sustainability is all about. We (the older generation) are creating the opportunities for change, but it is the youth that are actually making the changes.”
United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNANZ) President Graham Hassall said “Seeds of Hope- Individuals making a difference. Each panel looks at ways in which very ordinary people- humble people from different parts of the world have decided to be active. That is what SGI is about and what the United Nations is about.”
SGINZ General Director Jimi Wallace introduced SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2012 environmental proposal to Rio+20 quoting, “There has been welcome progress in encouraging learning and reflection. But unless this gives rise to empowerment and, beyond that, to the exercise of leadership, it will not generate real transformation.” Mr Wallace spoke about “How vital it is that we each develop a sense of and exercise leadership for the environment, for sustainability, for the future based on example with faith in the potential of one person to make a difference.”
Erin Murphy (one of 4 NZ Youth Ambassadors who went to Rio +20) commented “Rio +20 inspired me to want to be a part of the global community and help to ensure that the sustainable future we want is achieved not just in New Zealand but around the world. This conference made me realise that all you have to do is to start caring about our planet, about the animals and people, all the plants that live on it. It is really that simple.”